Quantcast Danny Lopes interview - DESECRATION, HORROR, SATAN'S PLAYGROUND

Danny Lopes!!!
For those of you familiar with cult director Dante Tomaselli, then you'll no doubt recognize the face in the frame to the left. It's none other then actor Danny Lopes who has appeared in every single one of Dante Tomaselli's flicks. Our staffer Adam caught up with Danny to find out about the upcoming 'Satan's Playground' (and 'THE OCEAN'), his working relationship with Dante, and his recent photo shoot for... Playgirl?! Read on! - by Adam Barnick. 4/06

When did you first feel the creative impulse, and how did you express it? Was it when you decided to go into acting that you knew you'd found your purpose?

I was always trying to find ways to express myself. When I was younger I would draw and paint a lot. That was my escape. I would sit for hours and draw whatever was in my imagination. Nothing was as addicting and satisfying as acting. I started making short films when I was 11 and knew for sure that I needed to act and be involved with film. It was clear to me that I wanted to entertain people for the rest of my life.
How did you end up auditioning for Desecration?

At the time of auditions I had an agent who made me aware of the casting notice. The day after, I set up an audition date and went to see Dante.

Were you immediately able to 'click' with the abstract style of Dante's films?

YES! I loved his style so much. After watching Dante's Desecration short, I was locked to the project and would do anything to have the role.

Tell me about your first on-set experience. Working with Irma, Vincent Lamberti, etc.

It was very dreamlike. I was still in shock that I was even in a movie! Everyone on set melded together perfectly. The actors all had great chemistry. I looked up to and took notes from the experienced actors on set. I was very excited being around Irma - I had seen her multiple times in Stephen King's THINNER. She played the gypsy who got hit by the car which triggered all the unfortunate events. Lamberti is an amazing actor. We had many valiums...oops...I mean laughs together!

How has Dante's style of working with you changed or evolved with each film, if at all?

We spend so much time together now preparing for the films and discussing them that I feel closer to his image more than ever. Dante has allowed me to mature in front of his lens. He is still the same...very focused and set to achieve his goal. DT has a unique bond with his actors...he knows exactly how to get to you.

Tell me about some of your other acting experiences and/or auditions you've been involved in.

There really hasn't been too much going on besides Dante's films. I feel things will pick up this year. I have made many contacts and am positive that Satan's Playground will really get me out there and visible. I posed for PLAYGIRL MAGAZINE recently. I am taking one step at a time and enjoying it as much as possible.

Can you personally relate to the characters you've played at all and do you create your own backstories, or has Dante given them to you- do you "need" them as an actor, personally?

I've always connected with my characters and easily relate to the depths of each one. I haven't really had to create any backstories because Dante's scripts really allow you to visualize who you need to become. I did get my acting certificate from the New York Film Academy and they do teach ways of creating backstories but I am in my own world with my acting. I really live in my characters. I don't need to make up a past or future.

Do you have a particular favorite project you've done? Doesn't have to be the finished film, it could be the on-set experience.

Every film I am a part of goes to a special place in my heart. I get to meet great, creative people and live out my dream. I am not going to complain at all. Every experience makes me better.

How do you feel about the idea that the characters you've portrayed in Dante's films are different lifetimes of the same being? Reincarnated if you will. I felt that the autistic Sean was karma in a sense after how self-centered/misguided/sinful Luck was. He came back disabled. Do you believe in these concepts at all, or in ghosts/supernatural?

Of course! I feel we all live many lives - some lives happening at the same moment. That's how I see my characters in Dante's films...as if they are all happening in one moment - all versions of each other in different realms. There is definitely more than the eye can see or mind can think of.

What are some of your favorite films, horror or otherwise? Were you a horror fan before Dante's films?

I love so many movies... from all different genres. Old classics and new blockbusters. I have always been a fan of horror films and always will be.
Sean seems autistic, stuck in childhood - which of course is a running theme with Dante's films - yet he seems attuned to whatever evil's out in the woods (thoughts?)

Sean has a sense of telepathy...that's how I see it. He can feel energy.

Did you do any particular research for the part? Did you have to approach this character much differently in terms of preparation/performance than the previous ones?

I was totally prepared and very anxious for this role. Playing Sean allowed me to totally escape my world. I watched a few films with autistic characters and also researched it online. Again, powerful directing - I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Dante.

Regarding Sean being another incarnation of Bobby/Luck. There's a lot of parallels to Desecration, particularly in the scene where Mrs. Leeds confronts Sean, and Judy crawls out of the closet... they all seem to recognize each other from somewhere. Sean's another character stuck in childhood and obsessed with his mother... isn't "Mommy" the only thing he said in Satan's Playground?

Actually I say "MOM" a few times too... Mothers have a strong influence on their children. I am close to mine. As for all the characters, Dante purposely makes them interconnect. There are many symbols bringing each together. That one scene, where we are all together, is so wild. It was like we never left the set of Desecration. It was as if I was experiencing a dream with my mother and grandmother as different characters, forever haunting me. Irma as my grandmother sees me in a hole in the puzzle...in Satan's Playground she sees the same thing while reading my palm. Another link that makes the films all seem like they are happening at the same moment is my name, Sean. Years ago in Desecration, my character Bobby loses his best friend named Sean. He mysteriously fell down a hole...a treacherous hole that has now vanished.

Tell me about the experience on this film as opposed to the other two. Vibe on set, how it was put together, etc.  What was that like for you?

My experience on Satan's Playground was very much like the first two films...Very quickly everyone on set gets acquainted and becomes almost like your family away from home. This time around, I was older and more involved in the production and making of the film. When I wasn't acting I would grab the "behind the scenes" camera and capture moments. One day, I even stood in as production designer for a scene I'm anxious for everyone to see! It's amazing to get the privilege of having Dante as my mentor and at the same time get to act opposite amazing actors.
A powerful difference between the films was with the producers. This time around, we went with inexperienced producers who had egos and power trips. I enjoyed it more when Maria Tassiello (producer - Desecration, Horror) was overseeing the project. She left after the first half of shooting and got no credit. After Maria left, things were a little shaky but we all pulled it together. Of course Dante saw his vision through. He should have definitely gotten a producer credit. He made this film what it is today.

How was it working with Irma St. Paule again? Such a different dynamic between you two this time.

I love Irma St. Paule - just spoke to her on the phone... We really understand and respect each other. I love how the tables turned this time around... Irma plays such a mean, screwed up coke junkie. She's pure EVIL! In Desecration she was moody but overall very warm. At the Satan's Playground premiere she was yelling at me because I still don't have an agent nor did I pay my dues to join SAG. She looks over me - I appreciate that.

The stunt with you and the rock looked quite painful... how did you pull that off?

I remember blocking that shot and Tim Naylor asking, "How are we going to pull this shot off?" I was quick to stunt out the small obstacle...I love actions. My goal is to get a great response. Also, we had the most amazing crew members; Scott Sliger handled the special effects.

Are you able to snap in and out of your characters, or do you tend to 'live in their shoes' on and off set, etc.?

Both. To me, I am always living in the shoes of my characters...they are what construct me...I am a combination of all my characters. The good boy - the rowdy rocker - autistic boy - druggie - these roles allow me to filter the energy inside me. I am always practicing my craft and trying to enhance it.  Everyday, all day, I act. It comes so naturally. It allows me to see what works. I can tell through people’s energy what I need to do, and what is needed to improve the performance.

What have you been up to since SP wrapped? Will we be seeing you in The Ocean? And tell me about your intentions to produce music.

Everything has been pretty much low key. I am currently working on music and launching my record label. I will be financing Dante's first album, SEX, DEATH & the SUPERNATURAL. He is the first artist I will be working with. We have a lot planned! I can guarantee fans an amazing experience! The album will contain  all sorts of 80's flavored beats and synths...it is very much influenced by Depeche Mode,  Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, and Laurie Anderson. We plan to have some amazing cameos and collaborations.

As for THE OCEAN... Puerto Rico is truly magical. We hope to be down there filming soon. I am one of the producers on the project and also have a small, significant role. I play GUS, a boy who drowns...my death sets the tempo for the rest of the film. You will definitely see me and lots of blood!

Right now, all my intentions start with Dante Tomaselli. I am going to produce his album. It's a privilege. I want to give him exactly what he needs...try to please him.  DT is a musical genius. The soundtracks of his films are only the beginning. EVERYONE GET READY FOR SEX, DEATH and THE SUPERNATURAL! It will give people something to dance to...something to think about...and something to experience. I hope to get vocal cameos by Gwen Stefani and Marc Almond. Right now, we are still in the beginning stages but things are progressing and I want to have a website up soon with more information and a possible teaser track.

What are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to achieve over the next few years?

I will try to achieve as much as I can. There is so much in the world to do. I want to continue acting in films and keep on experimenting with different business ventures. My ultimate goal is to get out and explore. Have fun. Live.

Visit: www.DannyLopes.com

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